English, American and Global Studies, Earth Science, Personal and Career Development, Adventure Program
General Description Essential Questions Units of Study Learning Outcomes Forms of Assessment Teachers
General Description

Civilization is a year-long introductory course required of all first-year students at the Manhattan International High School. In addition to academic credits in English, Social Studies and Science, the Civilization curriculum offers students an orientation to their school and their communities, experience with educational technology and first-hand exposure to the world of work. The first semester curriculum focuses on individuals and communities, helping students to locate themselves in the here and now, while second semester�s topics extend widely through time and space. Interdisciplinary connections are developed at various points throughout the year.

In English, students initially read and write short personal narratives, then branch out to novels about individual survival in urban and wilderness environments. Students are introduced to the steps of the writing process (drafting, conferring, revising and editing), which they continue to practice throughout the year. Second semester begins with the study of ancient world mythology and ends with an exploration of contemporary science fiction and fantasy as modern forms of mythology. Reading comprehension, literary analysis, and expository and creative writing are emphasized, as students of all levels of English proficiency develop stronger linguistic and academic skills. Instruction in standard English grammar is provided through formal grammar lessons and within the context of students� written work.

The first semester Social Studies curriculum takes as its starting point the study of New York City and New York State, examining the history of the region as well as environmental issues of local importance. The study of Native American history and culture provides an overview of key events in U.S. history, examined from a native perspective, while laying a conceptual groundwork for second semester�s research in ancient civilizations. The study of world religions deepens students� knowledge of global cultures, past and present, and emphasizes the relationships among various belief systems. Students become aware of multiple world views as they study the components and characteristics of a wide variety of cultures and peoples. Emphasis is placed on knowledge of U.S. and world geography, as well as the development of formal research skills.

The Earth Science curriculum includes units on geology, meteorology, astronomy and oceanography. During the first semester, students work from the ground up, beginning with mapping and measurement skills, which are applied to local, national and global environments. Students practice the skills of observation, identification and classification through the study of rocks and minerals. Students also acquire knowledge of the earth�s m~or biomes, the weather and climate of various world regions, distribution of natural resources, and worldwide environmental issues. Second semester�s study of astronomy includes theories of the creation of the universe and an in-depth study of the solar system, while the oceanography curriculum emphasizes the importance of water to the maintenance of life on Earth. Students acquire a working knowledge of the scientific method through engagement with a variety of hands-on experiments throughout the year.

Personal and Career Development is designed to foster students� awareness of themselves as individuals and as members of communities. The first semester curriculum includes a variety of individual and group projects promoting interpersonal skills development, values exploration and career awareness. During the second semester, each student completes a community-based internship at a site of his or her choosing (This policy will be reviewed in the 2000-2001 school year in light of possible loss of waiver from Regents exams)

First semester�s Adventure Program includes three 5-week mini-courses: Project Adventure, Technology and Excursions. In Project Adventure, students participate in games, trust-building exercises and other physical activities. In Technology, students receive training in the school�s computer lab, preparing them to use computers in all of their classes. The Excursions curriculum includes half-day field trips to locations such as the New York Public Library, Central Park, the Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of the American Indian

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Essential Questions

    Who am I? In what ways is identity influenced by cultural background, personal experience and group membership?

    How do various factors -- geographical, cultural, physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual influence individual and collective human experience?

     What are the primary components of communities, cultures and civilizations?

     How does point of view affect one�s experience, awareness and understanding?

     What does it mean to be a member of local, national and global communities? What are my
 responsibilities to the larger world?

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Units of Study


     Personal Narratives: Reading of personal narratives from various cultural perspectives; development of reading comprehension skills; writing of narrative and descriptive essays; introduction to writing process (drafting, conferring, revising, editing).

     Adventure and Survival: Reading of novels about individual survival in urban and wilderness environments; analysis of major literary elements (character, setting, conflict, theme); development of expository essay-writing skills.

    World Mythology: Reading of ancient myths from each of the world�s major geographical regions, with emphasis on creation stories and hero myths; exploration of oral, written and cinematic uses of mythology in both English and employing the students� native languages; development of comparative essay-writing skills; writing of creation stories and hero myths.

    Science Fiction and Fantasy: Examination of moral, philosophical and spiritual questions as
represented in contemporary science fiction and fantasy novels; emphasis on personal response and
analysis; development of persuasive essay-writing skills.

     Social Studies

                  �    Contemporary Issues: Examination of environmental issues confronting local, national and global
                        environments; development of reading comprehension, note-taking and paraphrasing skills.

    New York City and New York State History: Study of Iroquois and Algonquin as New York�s first peoples; attention to local sites of historical and contemporary significance 

    Native American Studies: Exploration of cooperation, conflict, and the dynamics of cultural change; geography and mapping activities; timelines; charts, graphs and diagrams; group research projects; small- and full-group discussions; comparative analysis of culture groups

    Ancient Civilizations: Study of the components of cultures and civilizations, including the influence of geography and natural resources; independent research projects; poster displays; oral presentations.

    World Religions: Study of broad patterns, relationships and interactions of various cultures and belief systems; use of primary and secondary sources; development of formal research skills.

     Earth Science

    Mapping: Understanding of map keys and legends; knowledge of longitude and latitude; study of local subway maps, U.S. and world maps; construction of map of a section of Central Park.

    Geology: Study of rocks and minerals; observation, identification and classification; knowledge of properties of matter (mass, volume and density); introduction to the Scientific Method; rock studies, field trips and lab reports.

    Meteorology: Study of weather and climate in various world regions; effects of natural disasters, past and present; use of charts, graphs and other visual representations of information; independent research using a variety of sources (encyclopedias, books, magazines, scientific journals, Internet).

                  �    Astronomy: Consideration of theories of the creation of the universe; in-depth study of the solar
                       system; use of various systems of measurement, including scientific notation; knowledge of
                       concepts of rotation and revolution, temperature and gravity; creation of observation togs, poster
                       presentations and informational brochures


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Learning Outcomes

As a result of their studies in the Civilizations� Social Studies class, students will be able to:
      �     Find sources of information, use maps/charts/graphs, write a 5 paragraph essay, summarize, take notes,
            and understand the idea of a thesis.

As a result of their studies in the Civilizations� English class, students will be able to:
           Do comparative analysis, demonstrate organizational skills, demonstrate dictionary skills, demonstrate
            research skills (index/bibliography format), recognize themes and patterns, become aware of the difference
            between summary and analysis. English skills include: sentence proficiency, paraphrasing,
            essay-introduction/body/conclusion, reading comprehension, basic word processing skills, knowledge of
            writing process editing, drafts, and the ability to communicate comprehensively in English speech and

As a result of their studies in the Civilizations� Earth Science class, students will be able to:
          Interpret and produce visual representations of data, understand and apply essential tools and systems of
           measurement, understand the scientific method and be aware of standard laboratory procedure, perform
           simple experiment and create a lab report, understand concepts and theories that apply to course content,
           and interpret math and science data.

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Forms of Assessment
  •  Written homework assignments, including comprehension questions, analytical exercises and journal entries

  •  Group and individual research projects

  •  Oral presentations and poster displays

  •  Written tests and quizzes

  •  Observation logs

  •  Reaction papers

  •  Essays: descriptive, narrative, comparative and persuasive

  •  Development and implementation of experiments using the scientific method

  •  Written and oral reflections on acquired skills and knowledge

  •  Roundtable & classroom discussions and debates

  •  End-of-Year Portfolios: Selection of and reflection upon work completed throughout the year

  •  End-of-Year Roundtable Discussions (Portfolio Presentation): Small-group discussion and analysis of key    concepts covered during the semester.

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